Video telematics and dash cam systems are an effective tool to improve safety and productivity for fleet businesses that rely on drivers. Using cameras that can see inside and outside of a vehicle allows fleet managers to understand better what is going on out on the road and deal with situations that its drivers face daily.
Will Benefits Outweigh Costs of Dash Cams and Video Telematics?
With several options to choose from with different capabilities, fleets may be interested in investing in video dash cam technology but are unsure if the benefits will outweigh the costs. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute offers a Return On Investment (ROI) calculator that allows fleets to input their costs to get a rough estimate. https://www.vtti.vt.edu/roicalculator/calculator.html
But outside of the costs, there are immediate benefits that fleets are likely to see once they’ve implemented a video monitoring system into their business.
Reducing Liability for Fleet Accident Lawsuits
Costly accidents and litigation are a constant threat to fleets that rely on drivers to drive hundreds of miles a day. The threat is only growing. The size of verdict awards against trucking fleets rose 51.7 percent annually from 2010 to 2018, according to a report from the American Transportation Research Institute, with over 300 cases resulting in a judgment of over $1 million.
Video monitoring provides an objective witness to these incidents, giving fleets a chance to head off predatory judgments or exonerate their drivers altogether. In cases where the driver is at fault, fleets will be able to determine it quickly and move toward a settlement, potentially saving unnecessary time and money spent fighting the case.
Insurance companies may not give you a lower rate for installing video cameras in your fleet vehicles. Still, by reducing the cost of incident claims and reducing the number of incidents that occur in the first place, fleets will potentially be able to lower their premiums as well.
Managing Brand Reputation
Drivers out in the field are some of the most important ambassadors of a fleet’s brand. But instead of passively placing a “How’s my driving?” sticker on the back of your vehicles, video monitoring systems offer a proactive method for monitoring the interactions that your drivers have daily.
“Companies strive to keep the best value behind their brand identity, and one driver who’s not doing the right thing can really mess it up,” says Eron Usow, Senior Director of Product Management and Marketing for GPS Trackit.
This doesn’t only apply to aggressive drivers or lousy parking jobs. With driver-facing cameras, fleets can remotely view their drivers on duty to make sure that they act professionally when they’re in the cab.
If a driver isn’t wearing the proper uniform on duty or being discourteous to people, fleets will be able to address the issue with the driver directly, with evidence.
“No longer do you have the opportunity for people to go out into the field and not be a good representative of your business and your brand and make sure they’re using your assets effectively and appropriately,” said Usow.
Improving the Safety of Your Fleet
One of the best reasons to invest in a video monitoring system is to improve your fleet’s safety performance.
The size of verdict awards against trucking fleets rose 51.7 percent annually from 2010 to 2018. In the first five years of the study there were 26 cases over $1 million, and in the last five years of the data, there were nearly 300 cases. – American Transportation Research Institute
In 2021 Amazon announced that it had installed video monitoring systems on all of its delivery vehicles after a pilot test of the system showed incredible gains. In its initial testing, the eCommerce giant told Business Insider that it saw accidents decrease 48 percent, stop-sign violations drop 20 percent, driving without a seatbelt decrease 60 percent, and distracted driving decrease 45 percent.
Combining video monitoring with an effective safety culture and driver coaching is the best way for fleets to realize similar safety gains.
“We’ve done several studies showing that telematics, with the kind of management follow up that dashcams provide, reduced speeding by 70+ percent,” says Matt Camden, Senior Research Associate at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. “That’s big because we know that a lot of people speed. A lot of times, speeding doesn’t result in crashes, but the more you speed, the more likely a crash will eventually happen.”
Improving Fleet Efficiency
Video monitoring systems often include a tracking element, allowing fleet managers to track the movements of their vehicles throughout the day. Using the dashboard application, fleets can make sure that drivers make the most efficient use of their time.
If a driver makes an unexpected stop on duty or takes longer to get to a destination than was expected, video can help determine the cause of the delay. In a business where time equals money, it is crucial that fleets can trust their drivers to be making the most efficient decisions.
“You want to make sure that your stuff gets to the right place on time, you want to know the routes of your drivers, you want to know where did they go and when did they get there,” said Usow. “Through video and telematics, you know that people are going the right routes and that they’re not stopping off at their girlfriend’s house on the way to work.”
If you’d like to learn more about how GPS Trackit can help to improve safety, increase productivity and reduce costs for your business, speak with one of our knowledgeable Fleet Advisors at 866-320-5810 or get a quick Custom Quote.
References Sources: https://www.ttnews.com/articles/some-fleets-turn-cameras-help-mitigate-rising-insurance-costs
Eron Usow is the Senior Director of Product Management and Marketing for GPS Trackit.
Matt Camden is the Senior Research Associate at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.
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